If this had been advertised as a work of historical fiction, it would've been five stars. Maybe six. The writing. The subtle, almost British-ly dryOy.
If this had been advertised as a work of historical fiction, it would've been five stars. Maybe six. The writing. The subtle, almost British-ly dry humor. All of it. Wonderful.
However, I found out nearly 3/4 of the way through that most of it was a giant pile of hogwash. Completely untrue. Including the author's counterparts and their interesting deaths on the final two hops of the island-hopping campaign through the Pacific. Truthfully, the red flag shot up after Tarawa, when I started looking up how many marines could have possibly survived Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, AND Okinawa. Including William Manchester, I believe the number is zero.
So, I read American Ceasar when I was a kid, because I was a kid looking to do something in the military. It was good, but dry to the point of requiring regular dunks in pools to keep the pages from going *poof* into the air, gone forever. This book, however, is not that. It's a great read, cover to cover. You just need to understand that all of the eyewitness accounts either did not happen or weren't actually those of the author. It remains a conundrum why someone as universally acclaimed as he was still chose to believe it necessary to fabricate a military career not just in print, but also in interviews toward the end. We all fight battles, I suppose, and some have to do with ego or self-awareness. This case is a bummer. If you're in for a good work of historical fiction regarding the island-hopping campaign in the Pacific during WWII, read this, but do so with the *.
*He was mostly, largely, almost completely uninvolved....more
This is the entry to the next book. It's good, but let's not kid ourselves...by this time in the series, we're waiting on the buckles to be swashed, aThis is the entry to the next book. It's good, but let's not kid ourselves...by this time in the series, we're waiting on the buckles to be swashed, and anything less seems like a letdown....more
Such a great "short" story. It's quintessential King, with a twist for baseball fans and those interested in reading about plucky teenagers trying toSuch a great "short" story. It's quintessential King, with a twist for baseball fans and those interested in reading about plucky teenagers trying to survive against all odds, nature, and the supernatural....more
If there was a single book assigned to young folks inhabiting this country, this should be it. Ideally, they would be encouraged to both read it and aIf there was a single book assigned to young folks inhabiting this country, this should be it. Ideally, they would be encouraged to both read it and ask questions, most of which would doubtless fly forth during the the first third and would be of the incredulous flavor, something along the lines of, "Are you shitting me?". But as a civics lesson and a larger treasury of insight into the body politic of both America and Americanism, there are arguably fewer more worthy or complete descriptions of where we came from, where we went, how we got there, or how we stumbled forward than this narrative of the era encompassing the ~1850s to the late ~1860s. Cosmically speaking, it's pretty insubstantial; however, if you presently find yourself inclined to spend time dizzy with confusion about the current state of things (see the date of this review), start reading this book, then after ~200 pages, look up, and go, "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, suuuure, yeah."
I grew up a history nerd, but this eluded my nerdery until replacing a hardwood floor, during which time I found it the perfect companion for listening. There is no more thorough or definitive reconstruction of why the Civil War happened, why it was inevitable, why the south lost, or why no one really won that war than this single volume....more
Given my love of Holland's other two books, which explained the innards of the Roman Empire's downfall and Christiandom's willingness to utilize a letGiven my love of Holland's other two books, which explained the innards of the Roman Empire's downfall and Christiandom's willingness to utilize a lethal combination of passive aggresiveness and outright violence to legitimize their standing, it seemed a foregone conclusion that I would seek out his explanation of the rise of the Persian kings, the curious attempts at backstabbery involving early forms of democracy in Athens, and the brutal, but effective, lifestyle of the Spartans in their little slice of the Greek peninsula. Although occasionally bogged down in details describing the ins and outs of Athenian life and the major and minor players involved, the book doesn't disappoint in describing the line of Persian kings and the the ways in which they both captured power and maintained it. Similarly, Holland addresses the curious progression of Spartan life in ways that make their action at Thermopylae seem unsurprising, though no less extraordinary (for a crash course in hyperbole, watch 300).
Similar to patterns seen later in the the Roman Empire, Imperial Japan, Soviet Russia, and the Unites States, the course of human foible in Athens before, during, and after each subsequent disaster and victory involved a few voices out-voluming others, resulting in unnecessary chaos and angst. The moral is that history continues to repeat itself, because the only species aware of its inevitable death continues to actively complicate life until the candle goes out, forcing even the mighty redwoods to very slowly look at one another and shrug their pulp-y "shoulders".
Similar to his other books, reading this was like sitting in on a history class taught by your favorite British instructor who, in full control of their faculties of dry humor and hindsight-specific irony, encourages you to dive deeper....more
Another great chapter in the Sharpe's series. It isn't just Cornwell's ability to tell an exceptionally good story; it's also that Sharpe's more heroiAnother great chapter in the Sharpe's series. It isn't just Cornwell's ability to tell an exceptionally good story; it's also that Sharpe's more heroic exploits continue to be based on historical reality (i.e., a Scottish Captain from the 94th Regiment), making these books the best kind of historical fiction....more